New Year, Old Pain?
The new year always starts with a flood of emotions for me. Looking back at what was and forward to what may be is both encouraging and overwhelming. Especially when we enter into a new year knowing that some of the past won’t be coming with us.
2022 was a long, hard, but fruitful year for me. I learned to let go of things I was holding on to too tightly. And I ended the year anticipating the good that will come from living eyes wide open for Jesus.
But as we enter a week full of birthdays (four of them in 3 days), it is hard for me not to reflect on all we have lost. This is the 6th new year we have walked into without Ben here with us. And even though we are happy, growing and moving forward, we cannot help but remember what is missing.
Grief, loss, and life, in general, are not linear. There is an ebb and flow that goes along with just being human. We have our good days and our bad. We have the days when we can see how far we have come, and all that God is doing in us. And then we have days where we are wracked with reminders of everything we just can’t seem to get right.
One of the many things loss has taught me is that sometimes the good and bad walk hand and hand for a while. And sometimes we must give into the tears and let it all out. The thing I have to remember is I don’t want to stay in that place… the distraught, overwhelmed, and struggling place of no hope. So, I shed the tears, I pull my kids close, and get up to walk forward.
For the last 7 or 8 years, I have started every new year planning to get out and run. I start the year off slow—a half mile, a mile, then two. If I’m dedicated enough, I will work my way up to 5-6 by the end of the month. But in the beginning, I must take it slow. And sometimes my run isn’t much more than a crawl as I ease my way back in.
I have found that during seasons of heavy grief, at times the most I can do is crawl forward. And just like when I start back out running, every step is heavy and burdensome. But the pain of each step when I am running is a reminder of the progress I am making. And I no longer let the pain convince me to sit still.
New Year, New Goals…
The last few years I have tried to set a purposeful life goal for myself: intention, hope, joy. But this year I struggled with what I want to see in my life in the year ahead. And in the wee hours of this morning it came to me. This year I want to keep moving forward. It’s that simple. I want to keep moving, keep living, keep growing. That is it. And if I am honest, I am praying that God will lead us to thrive. So if you too have struggled with a hard season and knowing what to embrace in the year ahead… I encourage you to join me in just choosing to move forward… (even if moving forward looks like a crawl right now). Move forward, into the unknown, fully expectant of all that God has for us there.
Happy New Year!